October 31, 2011
This blog begins a series describing and explaining the provisions of our city charter. Essentially, the charter provides the foundation and structure for our government. In this blog, we will explore how the charter defines the legal powers of the city and the services those powers allow the city to provide. In future blogs, we will explore other sections of the charter. The first paragraph of the charter summarizes this key concept of powers and services.
Section 1.12 (a) defines the comprehensive powers of the city government. These powers define what the city of Peachtree Corners is authorized to do in the provision of services. The listing of powers includes animal control, appropriations and expenditures, fire regulations, health and sanitation among many others. These are standard and expected powers for any city. In 1999, Berkeley Lake’s charter http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/1999_00/leg/fulltext/hb277.htm was revised. You can see that the powers are very similar to those authorized for Peachtree Corners.
The key difference between us and any other city is in Section 1.12 (b) of our charter. This section spells out the specific services the city will provide: Planning and Zoning, Code Enforcement and Solid Waste Services. The charter specifically states that the comprehensive list of powers can only be exercised in the provision of these three services. If a power is not required for the provision of these services, the power is authorized but cannot be exercised.
Because we have chosen to limit the services we can provide by charter, we refer to Peachtree Corners as a “limited services city” or a “city lite.” But from the point of view of authorized powers, we are similar to other cities.
What if in the future citizens want to add services to the city? The charter was written specifically to allow the provision of additional services. There is a two-step process to add a service. First, the city council must pass a resolution stating the specific services to be provided. Then, the resolution must be ratified in a referendum by the citizens of the city. In other words, the council proposes and the voters approve or disapprove the proposal. If the referendum is approved, the city is authorized to provide this service. If the referendum is defeated, the resolution is immediately null and void.
This gives remarkable control of city services to the citizens of Peachtree Corners. It ensures that no service can arbitrarily be added by a simple vote of the city council. It also allows Peachtree Corners to amend the city charter without having to return to the legislative process.
So while the services provided by the city are limited, there is an ability to provide additional services if we chose. However, the process provides checks and balances to ensure that the services provided are those desired by both the city council and a majority of the citizens of Peachtree Corners.
In the next blog, we will discuss taxes and the city charter. Please e-mail us at email@example.com if you have any questions about incorporation or suggestions for future blogs. You can also Follow Us On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peachtree-Corners-Yes/188252451197937 and Follow Us On Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/PCCityYes. For more information about the city initiative, you can go to the Peachtree Corners web site http://peachtreecornersyes.com/